Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Last of April...
 One of the services that I provide is cooking for the Leadership Training Council that meets the last Friday of each month.  It has been fun to make food for these wonderful missionaries each month.  This past week it was pulled pork sandwiches.  I hope that I will still have time to do this as I train to take over the finances in the mission.  I have been stepping up the training, as Elder Smuin goes home before the middle of May.  I still have much to learn, but he is patient (although he has complained of headaches a lot lately...).  Below are Sisters Beames and Earl, just some of the beautiful Sisters we get to know and love.
It was a good and busy week--that seems to always be the case.  The weather was milder, although we did get some rain.  We have been able to shut off the heat in the apartment this week.  We each got the opportunity to teach 3 times and that is always enjoyable.  I really do like accompanying the missionaries and helping them teach.  I am amazed at their abilities and confidence in doing so, and also amazed at how comfortable it is--given the fright that it was initially at the MTC.

So this week I have a birthday.  All I have wanted for my birthday is good Mexican food.  I have a real craving for it.  Well, my wish came true!  We had the pleasure of having dinner at Brother Pena's last night.  He and his daughter Lena hosted tamales and Rice for dinner.  The sister missionaries, us, and the ward mission leader and family came.  The tamales were so very good.  We realized just how hard he had to work to make them, and that made them even better.  That, plus homemade guacamole.  Delicioso!  AND we are having dinner with the Pena's again on Wednesday.  We look forward to it.  Then, to top off the coming week, we are going to travel to New York City Friday morning and spend one night, returning home Saturday night.  It will be fun to see the sights.  There are 8 Senior Missionaries attending this fun trip.

We enjoyed celebrating Easter last week with a dinner for 6 Senior Missionary couples at the home of Pam and Alex Carr.  Alex is the overseer of the Philadelphia Temple being constructed, and Pam, his wife, is a service missionary.  They are lots of fun to be around and we enjoyed watching the "Because of Him" video again, as well as a video on many of our missionaries, and a musical number from our Assistants to the President, Elders Toilolo and Jenkins.  (They are coming for dinner tonight).  President and Sister Anderson had just returned from a Mission Presidents conference in Washington DC and they were able to give us a report on that as well.  We are enjoying the spirit in rich abundance and some wonderful experiences.  We feel so grateful to be serving this mission!

Elder Jones and Sister Smuin have teamed up to plan a Senior golf tournament tomorrow at the Paxon Hollow Golf Course just down the street.  They are playing a mixed scramble and there are 3 teams of 4 each.  The tourny is small, but will be fun.  It is the first time Corry has played golf in such a very long time.  I hope he enjoys the afternoon.  We are then having our Senior FHE activity after at the President's home--a BBQ.  Hope the weather holds...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Transfers in April
This has been a very busy week.  Monday night we had a dinner for the 3 outgoing missionaries.  1 sister and 2 elders, so the testimony meeting was brief.  We knew these missionaries well and were especially sad for Sister Young to go.  When we arrived here in the mission she had cleaned our apartment, along with Sister Munson (pictured below).  We served with these girls for some time and loved them lots!  
 Then Tuesday during a torrential rainstorm the missionaries pictured below arrived.  They'd had to hover in the air above Philly for 20 minutes in very bumpy weather so they were so very glad to be on the ground.  The sister 2nd from right is Sister Jolley from Ivins.  This picture was taken in the mission home and President and Sister Anderson are pictured as well.  We did have lots of rain last week and it has made lawns turn green and lots of flowers bloom.
 This is Sister Kelli Bettilyon.  She is from the SLC area.  She had to go home from her mission to recover from lyme disease.  It is interesting, because as she would come in to the mission office and at various meetings where we saw her we would ask about her health (she looked ill).  When she named her symptoms and I asked her questions, I became very concerned that she had lyme disease as her symptoms mirrored Jen's.  She went to the doctor here and got tested even but they were unable to diagnose it as lyme.  So she went home, was diagnosed with lyme disease, mold and a virus or some sort.  After about 3 months of treatment she was able to return and we were so very happy to see her.  She has that happy, perky look back.  We got big hugs..
Now about Easter.  For this past week the church has blitzed the media with #Because of Him.  We were asked to post this phrase and complete it in our various media contributions throughout the week.  And we did.  It has been an inspirational week to read all of the posts on Facebook about this.  Today our 2 current assistants to the president posted #Because of Him we sing on Facebook.  Please go to Facebook to find it.  The Missionaries are Elders Alasi Toilolo and Dallin Jenkins.  Elder Toilolo is from Hawaii and he accompanies their song on the ukulele.  It is very well done and was a wonderful way to remember Easter.  I reposted it, so if you are my friend or go to my facebook page, you will be able to find it.  Then as you lay in bed tonight, think of the phrase "Because of Him" and complete that sentence for yourself.  Because of Him I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I know that He lives.

We will enjoy an Easter dinner tonight with 5 other couples serving in this mission.  We miss our family celebrations, but are so happy to be serving at this time and in this place.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Blossoms!  Transfers!  Dinners!
 We sure do love these elders.  We have had the privilege of working with Elders Jenkins (left) and White (right) since the end of October.  They are assistants to the Mission president and have been such fun and inspiration for us.  We will miss Elder White as he goes back into the field for the last 6 weeks of his mission. We are excited to find out who will now be working with us as the other AP.  We will find out on this Tuesday, April 15.  Monday night we will get to have dinner and testimonies with the 2 elders and 1 sister going home.  (Sister Young is the sister and we served 6 months with her in Broomall.)  Then they fly out Tuesday early.  Then transfers occur.  Elder Jones has been getting ready for that as he mapped out the route for his service elders to pick up all of the inner city transfers luggage.  They cannot take luggage on the buses or trains, so the service elders picked up luggage at 18 locations in Philly and Camden areas.  Then Tuesday afternoon we receive 1 elder and 6 sisters.  So we will get to meet and have dinner with them on Tuesday night.  Then Wednesday morning we will do some training with the "goldens".  Elder Jones has to show a safety film on driving and interview them to approve them to drive a mission car.  I will be mostly just observing as they receive their MSF card (monies for the month) so I will know how to do that next time. Yes! the Smuins will return home before the next transfer (the other office couple) and the couple replacing them is not do to arrive until about the same time they go, so we are wondering just how this is all going to work...Anyway, I will then be doing the finance part of the mission.  Elder Jones will be doing a bit more counseling with missionaries having difficulty as well as helping out in the office.  We are praying that this transition will be painless...
 Trees are blossoming in Pennsylvania this week.  Daffodils everywhere, even popping up in lawns.  The tree pictured above has large hand size flowers that are absolutely lovely.  They look like they should be on a lei. I was told the tree is magnolia.  There is another tree that has white daisy-like blossoms.  I am enjoying the beauty of Pennsylvania in the spring.  The wet winter has turned lawns green in just a couple of sunny days this week.  We got into the high 70's.

 As I have stated before, we have a large contingent of Koreans in our ward.  Every year they host a dinner in April and it was last night.  Although there were a few dishes from other countries (I brought English Trifle) most of the food was Korean and it was yummy.  You see above some orange chicken, lemon chicken, spicy pork, noodles, pot stickers and rice.  Everything was so tasty!
 This is Elder Jones trying some sushi.  The rolls were actually filled with ham, veggies and pork--no raw fish, so he tried them and enjoyed them.  The AP's have been daring him for 6 months to try sushi, so this was for them...(we won't let on that there was no raw fish...)  Today we also had the usual 2nd Sunday pot luck lunch after church.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Yes!  It IS Spring because:
  • I did NOT wear tights twice this week
  • It only snowed a skiff on 3/31/14
  • We have had April showers several times this week
  • We turned off the heat in our apartment before leaving on Friday
  • I saw daffodils on the side of the freeway in Maryland
  • We went to a little league basketball game
  • It was General Conference Weekend
  • It was the Final Four
  • Dad dug in Jen's garden and prepared it for planting some veggies, added manure and soil nutrients
  • We put lighter blankets on our bed
  • I wore short sleeves twice this week
  • Dad did not wear a jacket in the photo below
  • Pansies were planted at the DC Temple
  • The grass turned green over the weekend
  • The snow has finally melted in the local store parking lots
  • Buds are on some of the trees
  • The temp on the way home from Virginia today read 65 degrees!  Whoopie!
Elder Jones arranged a trip for the Senior Missionaries to attend a temple session at the Washington, D.C. Temple.  This is our temple until the Philadelphia Temple is complete.  Not everyone could go, but we did enjoy the outing.
 It was especially nice to have Jen join us for the session.  Not very often do you get to be in the temple seated right in between your daughter and your husband.  Very nice...  One of the other missionaries had their son and his wife also join them.
Yep, we watched Mikey Bishop play a little league baseball game.  He played 3rd base.  The temps were fairly warm, but the wind was gusting and Dana was especially cold.  
Daffodils in many places on the side of the freeway in Maryland.  I love daffodils!
 The Baltimore Tunnel road was under construction so we had to take a different route home and got to cross over this interesting bridge, the Francis Scott Key Bridge.
The view from the inside of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.  We got to see much of Baltimore Harbor as we traveled along.
Now about our week:  We got to teach some, although one of our regular teaching assignments was ill so had to be cancelled.  Elder Jones gave a short presentation at the Valley Forge West Zone Conf. on "designated drivers" and I got to attend the whole conference and participate in 3 role plays.  I have finally become comfortable doing role plays as a missionary and got to do exactly that.  

We were excited to go to the temple on Friday and especially pleased to stay a couple of days at Jen's afterwards.  We got to watch the ball game, go to a fun burger place for dinner after, play some Canasta with Dana, Hannah, and Jen, be outside almost all day Saturday (dad got so sunburned on his face and head), help get all of the outdoor furniture placed in Jen's back yard, work in the garden for Dad, and Dad got to play basketball with the kids.  Oh, and Dad got to watch the final 4 games...

This week we are preparing for Transfers.  They seem to come around way too often.   For us it involves just knowing the variables such as which apartments are closing down, any emergency transfers which affect the correct addresses, etc., and of course, which cars are moving and to where.  We seem to have reached a peak in this mission and are now sending home more missionaries than we are receiving, except for this upcoming one where we send 3 home and receive 7.  We may still, however, receive some VISA waiters.
We are also looking forward to our ward International Dinner on Saturday as we have heard that the Korean members cook some really awesome items.  We purchased some Korean Spicy Pork from a ward fund-raiser with our mission president and will finally get to eat it tomorrow.  The mission president is very hard to pin down as he seems to always be super busy.